9/15/18

Comfort Foods for Fall: Chicken Enchiladas (quick and easy)









I know I've posted this at some point in the last 12 years - but it's a good reminder now that Fall is in the air.  This is a great Fall food.

This is a 'comfort food' - it's easy, and cheap to make, feeds a lot of people and tastes so good.  You can also add and delete things in it to make it your own.  It's a recipe I've been making since 2000.  At the time the 3 kids were little and we often had extra kids over for dinner; this was a meal I could whip up and make more or less of to feed as many as we needed.  Adjust pretty much everything to 'play with it' and you can also use more or less of the filling inside the flour tortillas to adjust for more people.  Make 2 pans (double the recipe) if you need to feed more people - and don't forget all the toppings!  You can add more or less of those as well.


Chicken Enchiladas

1 can cream of chicken soup (regular, fat free, etc.)
1/2 c sour cream
1 t dried minced onion
1/2 t dried minced garlic or 1 t fresh chopped or minced
1/2 c chopped green pepper
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
3 oz. cream cheese of your choice
2 c shredded cheese - mild cheddar or a mix of cheddar/colby/mozzarella etc.
1-2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 pkg. flour tortillas (low carb, whole wheat, regular... your choice)
*add anything else you like as well; a small can of green mild chilies, some jalapeno, salsa, diced tomato, a drained can of corn, some rinsed and drained cooked black beans, use beef or diced cooked leftover steak instead of chicken... the options are endless.

Be sure to taste test the mixture and add more or less garlic, cumin and chili powder according to your own tastes.  These amounts were from my original notes in 2000 but we normally use about a tablespoon of fresh garlic, and about 2 t each of cumin and chili powder, and we always add jalapenos etc.

Place the soup, sour cream, onion, garlic, green pepper, spices and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 or 2 minutes until the cream cheese is soft and you can stir and blend it all easily with a wood spoon or rubber spatula.  Add the cooked, diced or shredded chicken, half the shredded cheese and add anything else you wish; adjust seasonings as spicy as you like.  When you are happy with the filling, spoon it into the flour tortillas.

Divide the filling equally between the flour tortillas.  If you have extra filling left, just spoon it over the top of the enchiladas. Top with the last half of the shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until it's warmed through; uncover and let it bake another 5-8 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Serve as is or place random toppings out;  shredded lettuce, shredded cabbage, fresh diced tomatoes, avocados, onions, black olives, salsa, taco sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, diced jalapenos...
















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9/14/18

No Pasta Lasagna - Low Carb




No Pasta Lasagna

I used my own homemade spaghetti sauce that I make, food vacuum seal and freeze.  Use whichever sauce you prefer just make sure you are reading labels to make sure of the carb and sugar content.

For the no-pasta noodles:
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 c mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 t Italian Seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder

Place items in a food processor and blend smooth.  Spread smooth into a 9X13" pan you've lined with parchment.  Bake about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool or chill while you make the rest.


  • 1 lb. ground beef (or mixture of beef/sausage if that's what you prefer.)

Brown in a pan on the stove with:
  • 1 t Italian seasoning, 1 t garlic powder, 1 t dried oregano, 1 t onion powder
Also use:
  • 1 1/2 - 2 c spaghetti sauce of you choice (I make mine homemade) Check carb and sugar counts on yours
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 t dried basil
  • 1/3 c mozzarella or Parmesan cheese

Turn the 9X13 pan of baked cheese "pasta" the long way in front of you and slice it into 3rds.  You now have 3 sheets that are the same size as a bread loaf pan. These are going to substitute the pasta.  Mix the basil into the ricotta cheese.  Sometimes if the ricotta is a brand that isn't very thick (brands differ) then I beat in 1 egg.  Up to you.  I use cottage cheese with an egg when I don't have ricotta on hand.  You can also use sour cream instead of cottage cheese or ricotta if that's all you have on hand.

In a loaf pan, layer your lasagna as you usually do.  A bit of sauce, a sheet of cheese-pasta, meat, the ricotta cheese mixture, sauce, cheese-pasta, meat, ricotta.  Layer at least 3 layers and you should be to the top of the loaf pan.  Sprinkle with parmesan or mozzarella (or even a mixture of cheddar jack if that's what you have in the house).  Bake about 25-35 minutes at 350 until golden brown, bubbly and hot all the way through (depends on the thickness of your pan, your oven's 'personality' for baking, etc)  Let set at least 10 minutes to set up - or if you dig into it right away (like we always do) expect it to look more like a casserole on your plate because you didn't allow it to set up.  We enjoyed with a green salad and blue cheese dressing on the side.


The pasta substitute


Spread into a pan and ready to bake


This is your finished 'pasta' which is really an egg/cheese mixture


Layer as you usually do with lasagna - only use a bread or loaf pan


Ready for the oven




You might be interested in some products related to this post, available through Amazon;

USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel 1 Pound Loaf Pan
Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper (SmartGrid, Non-Stick, 45 Square Foot Roll)
Cuisinart FP-8SV Elemental 8-Cup Food Processor, Silver




















9/8/18

Homemade BLT's - Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches - an "oh yeah, I forgot about those" dinner!



Yeah, I know you don't actually need a recipe for these; but you might need a reminder they even exist.  And I only say that because in our family we will go 6 months without remembering they exist and then standing in the kitchen one night I'll suddenly realize I'm craving a BLT and I'll say to myself "Oh yeah.... I forgot all about those!"

So that is why I'm bothering to post this.  As a reminder that not only do BLT's exist... but they are so yummy!


BLT'S

2 pieces of toast
lettuce
tomato
mayonnaise
bacon

Sandwich together... and eat!






9/2/18

From My September 1st Instagram: Easy and No Work Dry Rub BBQ Ribs



Although I've posted our favorite dry rub recipe more than a couple times on An American Housewife, I posted it to my Instagram account yesterday as I was making them (again) and I wanted to make it easy for any followers to find the recipe on my site.  

We have these fairly often because they are a family favorite here.  We use beef ribs, simply because it's a preference of ours over pork but you certainly can use pork if you wish.  Also:  I slow cook these in all different ways depending on the day, the weather, and how much time I have to get them ready.

Options that I've used are the oven, a slow cooker/crock pot, an Instant Pot and a solar oven (sun oven).  All of them work fabulously.  The solar ovens, crock pots and instant pots use moisture in the cooking process so wrapping in foil isn't 'needed' but it does help bring the tender ribs out in one piece so I recommend it.  When in the oven, yes, use heavy foil sealed tightly as it traps in the moisture to slow cook them without them going dry or burning.  You want them to be moist and tender.




This dry rub makes a huge amount; bag it in little ziplocks or store in a Mason jar for up to 3 meals.


 Dry Rub

1 T cumin
1 T paprika
1 T granulated garlic
1 T granulated onion
1 T chili powder
1 T brown sugar
2 T salt
1 t ground Coriander seed
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t black pepper
1 t white pepper

Mix in a bowl.  Sprinkle on damp beef ribs as heavy or light as you wish for your personal taste. 
Wrap the ribs in heavy aluminum foil - add a dash of apple cider vinegar and if you have it; a dash of orange juice to the ribs, wrap tightly in the foil or just add to the crockpot/slowcooker, or bake in a solar oven or in the oven at 350.

Slow cook them however you wish til tender enough to easily pull off the bone.  Remove ribs to finish off either on the grill or under the broiler for a few minutes to finish them up.  

*If you want to make a BBQ Sauce from the juices; Opening one side of the foil, pour off the juices into a pan on the stove and then unwrap the ribs completely. Make a sauce out of the juices you poured off the meat, by adding a heavy dose of (low sugar) ketchup, brown sugar sweetener, and a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.  I simply kept spoon tasting until I got the sweetness I liked.  (about 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar sweetener).   Medium high heat to boil gently until it's reduced to a thick sauce.  Broil the ribs under the broiler for a few minutes each side until golden brown.  Drizzle with the sauce and serve.

I like to use beef ribs - but you can use pork

It makes a LOT of spice mix.  Use it sparingly or heavy; up to you.
 


Tightly wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil to catch all the juice as it cooks


Cook them really, any way you wish.  The idea is to slow cook them until they are completely done and tender enough to pull off the bone.
Fix it and forget it!  Cooked all day on low, tightly wrapped, they don't dry out. Finish on the grill or under broiler.

 




Many of the products used in our recipe are available through Amazon if you can't find them locally;
Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Reduced Sugar, 13 Ounce
Truvia Brown Sugar Blend, 16 Ounce
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, 16 Ounce - 1 Pack
   





Hamilton Beach 33967A Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker, 6-Quart
BLACK+DECKER SC2007D Slow Cooker, 7 Quart, Teal Wave
Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook' N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel


    














9/1/18

Lots of BASIL in your garden? Take 1 minute and DRY IT! EASY!




I know I've posted about this before but darn-it, I'm going to again.  Because it's just soooo easy and quick and homegrown basil just has so much more flavor than the store bought stuff!!!  Seriously, if you have 1 minute, you have enough time to dry some basil.

You can see in the photo above I have a little glass jar I've recycled (one of a billion because in our home I find a use for everything... everything!  And rarely throw things away).  Save old spice jars so you can refill them with either your own homegrown or if you buy in bulk to save money you can put them in smaller jars for using/serving etc.

OK now back to basil.
  • Pick it.
  • Rinse it.
  • Place it on a paper towel.
  • Put another paper towel over.
  • Put in the microwave and turn it on for about 1 minute.
  • Check it by lifting the paper towel (which is there to absorb moisture).
  • You can now leave the paper towel off - and move the basil around a little bit, checking which might already be dry and which might need a few more seconds.
  • Turn it back on for another 15 seconds or so... check again.
  • Let the basil sit out on the counter for a minute for it to cool so you can really see how dry it is.  If it's dry, and cool then it's time to either just put it all into a bottle or jar as it is or you can crumble it or chop it if you wish.  It crumbles easily, it stores perfectly and it's ready for use in food dishes immediately.





I actually own a micro-herb mill that was a gift from my daughter years ago that I use almost exclusively for basil now as I use it that often.  I love it.  It was hard to find for awhile but I see them on Amazon yet...


Herb Grinder that I own (gift to me years ago by my oldest daughter)
I think she ordered it on clearance from Williams Sonoma at the time but I'm not sure. It was probably 7 years ago. I still use mine at least once a week.




I looked on Amazon just now and I think (?) this might be the newer model of the one I own.


Microplane Herb Mill 2-in-1 






There are lots of related products though - any herb mill will do I imagine!

Herb Grinder, Parsley chopper Herb Mill/Grinder,Spice Mill Parsley Shredder





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